The following is an excerpt written about Rick Pitino by Kevin Eigelbach for Business First. Read the entire article here.
Failing with the Celtics taught him humility, he said. And he doesn’t regret it.
His biggest regret in life is not learning humility earlier in life, he said, because it’s the key to success in life.
Pitino held up one of his rivals, Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, as an example of humility.
After losing a game, most coaches give the winning coach a “dead fish” handshake, Pitino said. But when U of L defeated Duke in the NCAA tournament this year, Krzyzewski shook Pitino’s hand, put his arm around him and told him again and again how much he liked Pitino’s team and that he hoped U of L would win the championship.
That’s humility, Pitino said.
Another key to success, which he learned more recently, is to work each day as if he has a renewable, one-day contract, with just one day to make a difference in the job. Pitino just finished writing a book on the subject, which he said he expects to be published in October.
Working that way helps him keep focused, he said, and not get distracted from his goals.
He also talked about the importance of listening, which is something he learned on the recruiting trail at UK. He recalled spending 45 minutes at one recruit’s house, talking all the time, without giving the recruit or his family a chance to speak. He lost that recruit to another school.
He learned his lesson from that, he said. And on his next recruiting visit, he spent the visit listening to the recruit’s family and asking questions. It paid off, because the recruit, Tony Delk, chose to attend UK and and turned out to be the most valuable player for UK’s 1996 national championship. He also was a first-round NBA draft pick and played in the league for more than a decade.
“All I did was tell them how interested I was in them,” Pitino said of the visit.